, Salem, MA

July 9, 2013

Letter: Searching for an explanation on fishing woes

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

I read John Crawford’s letter (“Fish science clearly supports catch limits,” June 21) with some interest. We don’t need the Pew Charitable Trusts to spend thousands of dollars to analyze questionable data to tell us what we know. There are no fish out there, at least in the Gulf of Maine. This is contrary to what the National Marine Fisheries Service told us two years ago.

Actually, Iceland has plenty of fish to fly to us on a regular basis and is supplying most of our retail outlets here in New England; so there are fish in the Atlantic. Ask any supplier where their groundfish comes from.

Question: Where have all the fish gone? Overfishing? Doubtful. Consider that NMFS has levied quotas, closures, species limitations, increases in net sizes, tracking programs on fishermen, etc. for several years; couple that with the fact that the fleet has been decreased by approximately 75 percent.

“The Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization” doesn’t have the answer. Can you tell us why the Icelandic fisheries are so healthy? Have you supported “scientific” measuring of the protected seal populations? Have you supported “scientific” measuring of the quantities of cod/haddock the growing seal population consumes? Have you looked at any other reason for the declining fish populations? Encouraging and protecting the growth of a predatory species that is not endangered can be devastating to the whole food chain and certainly unhealthy for the industry.

Ambia Olsson Smith